iOS 9.3 Problems: 5 Things You Need to Know

The 9.3 update is finally here. And while there are a number of reasons to celebrate, the update is already causing serious headaches for some iPhone and iPad users. With that in mind, we want to take an early look at 9.3 and provide you with resources that will help you if you stumble into an issue.

We had a hunch that the 9.3 release date would land today and sure enough, Apple’s rolled out the milestone upgrade and all of its changes to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users around the world.

As expected, it’s a major update for iOS 9 users bringing Night Shift, Verizon Wi-Fi Calling, improvements to apps, changes to 3D Touch, and more. The iOS 9.3 update is exciting but it’s not perfect.


As the roll out picks up speed, we’re starting to hear about early iOS 9.3 plaguing iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. This isn’t surprising.

iOS updates, even iOS updates that go through extensive testing like iOS 9.3, always bring their own collection of problems. The iOS 9.3 beta wiped out a number of problems but it appears that some managed to slip through the cracks.

Today we want to touch on these iOS 9.3 problems for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and provide you with the most important information you need to know. This roundup includes a look at fixes for iOS 9.3 problems, the iOS 9.2.1 downgrade, and more.

iOS 9.3 Problems

It’s still early but we’re already hearing about problems with Apple’s latest upgrade including a serious activation issue that Apple will address with a new iOS 9.3 build.

iOS 9.3 users are complaining about several different issues including battery drain, issues finding the new Night Shift feature, issues with the vibration function, activation problems (this seems to be the most common problem thus far), missing App Store, and iPad 2 owners are saying that the update bricked their device. It appears that iPad 2 users aren’t alone.

iOS 9.3 Activation Problems

According to Apple, activation issues are affecting owners of the iPhone 5s and older and owners of the iPad Air and older. They’re so bad that the company recently confirmed plans to issue another iOS 9.3 update From iMore:

“Updating some iOS devices (iPhone 5s and earlier and iPad Air and earlier) to iOS 9.3 can require entering the Apple ID and password used to set up the device in order to complete the software update,” an Apple spokesperson told iMore. “In some cases, if customers do not recall their password, their device will remain in an inactivated state until they can recover or reset their password. For these older devices, we have temporarily pulled back the update and will release an updated version of iOS 9.3 in the next few days that does not require this step.”

It’s not clear when an update will roll out though you’ll want to be on the lookout over the weekend and next week. In the meantime, you’ll want to consult Apple’s support document as it comes with fixes for this ongoing issue.

Note that that the above issues aren’t the same as the activation problems that were plaguing some GSM iPad 2 users. Those problems have been fixed with a brand new iOS 9.3 build that started rolling out last night to the GSM iPad 2.


We’ve been using the iOS 9.3 update for a few days now but we haven’t discovered any experience-breaking bugs. We were able to activate all of our devices just fine.

iOS 9.3 Crashes

These activation problems aren’t the only widespread iOS 9.3 issues it seems. No, iPhone and iPad users are also seeing a pickup in app crashes when tapping on links inside Safari and other applications like Chrome, Messages and Mail.

Some users apparently noticed this problem on iOS 9.2.1 though it appears to have grown more widespread with the release of the iOS 9.3 update.

The root of the problem is unclear though there are a number of theories floating around at the moment. Apple says that it’s working on a fix and that it will roll out in a future software update.

In the meantime, you can try killing Javascript or using a different browser. Some users are saying that killing JavaScript in the Advanced section of Safari’s Settings temporarily alleviates the problems. There is also another workaround available though it’s very involved.

With all of that in mind, know that you’re taking a risk (especially if you own an older device) installing the iOS 9.3 on your phone or tablet.

That’s why we recommend taking a few steps to prepare yourself, and your device, for iOS 9.3. A little prep work will go a long way toward preventing problems.

Where to Find Feedback About iOS 9.3

It’s important for everyone, those who have already upgraded to iOS 9.3 and those who haven’t, to keep an eye on feedback about the update’s performance.

As we push away from the release date, you’ll want to dig for feedback about performance on your device, particularly if you’re coming from something older than iOS 9.2.1 (you can’t go back to anything else) and using an older device like the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4s.

So where will you find this feedback about iOS 9.3 performance and potential problems? Well, you can start here.

2016 iPad Air 3 Release Date - 6

We’ve put together some reasons to and not to install the iOS 9.3 update right now. If you’re on the fence, start there.

We’ve also started releasing our impressions of iOS 9.3 updates for popular devices. We’ve started with the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 5s, and iPad and we’ll be posting more shortly.

If those aren’t enough, we recommend keeping an eye on YouTube, Apple’s discussion forums, and the MacRumors forums for additional feedback about the iOS 9.3 update.

This feedback will alert you to potential issues and also, potential benefits.

How to Fix iOS 9.3 Problems

If you’ve run into an iOS 9.3 problem, there’s no need to panic. There’s a good chance there’s a fix out there for your issue. (Including those activation problems.)

If an iOS 9.3 problem pops up on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, start with our list of fixes for common iOS 9 problems. Our list features fixes for the most common iOS 9 problems including abnormal battery drain, Wi-Fi issues, and problems with Bluetooth.

iOS 9.3 Update Details

If you can’t find a fix there, you should head on over to Apple’s discussion forums for iPhone, iPad, Apple Music, and more. There, you’ll find a library of fixes and a helpful community that can and will point you in the right direction.

If you can’t find a fix online, you can get in contact with Apple Support via Twitter or schedule an appointment to see a Genius at an Apple Store.

You Can Downgrade to iOS 9.2.1

You can also downgrade to the iOS 9.2.1 update for a short time.

Apple is still signing off on the iOS 9.2.1 update which means you can drop back down to the update if you decide that iOS 9.3 isn’t to your liking.


Remember, Apple will, at some point, stop signing off on iOS 9.2.1 which will leave you stranded on iOS 9.3. This typically happens one to two weeks after an update’s release.

What’s Next

Apple hasn’t confirmed the next iOS update though we could see a brand new update sooner rather than later.

The company says that it will be releasing a new software update to fix the app crashing issue. It says that update will be arriving “soon.”

A report from MacRumors hints at a potential iOS 9.3.1 update. Nothing is confirmed but we should see at least one small bug fixer roll out before the next milestone upgrade this summer.

iOS 10 Release Date

The company hasn’t announced an iOS 9.4 update and iOS 10 isn’t expected to debut until the summer at WWDC 2016.

So if you encounter a problem with iOS 9.3, you’re on your own. For now. Keep an eye out for the next iOS 9.3 update. It should come soon.

4 Reasons Not to Install iOS 9.3 & 5 Reasons You Should

Install If You Use Your iPhone at Night & Want Better Sleep

1 / 9Install If You Use Your iPhone at Night & Want Better Sleep

One of iOS 9.3’s most impressive features is called Night Shift. If you’ve used f.lux, you’re familiar with this feature. If you aren’t, here’s what Night Shift is all about. 

iOS 9.3’s night mode feature changes the color temperature of your screen. Colors become warmer after sunset and they adjust back to cooler more natural colors in the morning. So what does this mean for average iOS users?

The bright blue light that comes from your screen at night can interrupt your circadian rhythms making it harder to fall asleep. With Night Shift enabled, your iPhone’s display will automatically adjust using your location and time of day. 

There’s a convenient way to disable Night Shift via the Control Center menu that you access swiping up from the bottom of the display. And if you use Low Power Mode, it will automatically disable Night Shift to help you conserve battery.

If you use your iPhone right before you go to bed, and you want to help improve your sleep, try iOS 9.3 and Night Shift to see if they help. We saw a noticeable improvement to our quality of sleep during our time with the iOS 9.3 beta. 

Note that Night Shift is only available for the iPhone 5s and higher.

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